Avoiding the culprits it is possible to prevent food allergies, the same may be applicable for food sensitivities. A healthier way of eating may not prevent the discomfort of food intolerances, unless they are identified and eliminated from the diet, at least for a while (usually 3--9 months).
By cutting down on food containing the main culprits — gluten (the main protein responsible for gut irritation, inflammation and increased gut permeability), deep-fried and refined food (oils, salt, sugars, soda, sweet and energising drinks, commercially manufactured biscuits and cakes) and trans fats (hydrogenated fats) --, and eating nutrient-dense foods, the body may be able to heal itself.
The main purpose of food is to feed our body, mind and soul, but also to cure our body from diseases. Food is indeed our vital and natural medicine!
Protein, for example, are crucial for natural healing and repair of the body. Essential fatty acids are required for healthy cell membranes and brain cells.
Ingest too many pills and what happens?
You are overdosing, involving many side effects including death!
You eat too much and inappropriately of the same food (e.g. grains, read meat, dairy products), you are in the same way overdosing, a leading cause to heart disease, skin and gut conditions, cholesterol and diabetes, and, as a result, premature ageing and death.
With food, many diseases may be reversed and your body free from symptoms. Food indeed plays a major role in our life, but also acts upon our mood and energy as a whole.
Food reactions are common; however, most are caused by a food intolerance rather than a food allergy. A food intolerance can show the same signs and symptoms as a food allergy; therefore, it is easy to confuse the two. So, let’s define what really are food allergies and food intolerances, what are the differences between the two, and how to prevent or deal with both whenever they occur.
A Food Allergy is an immune system response that affects numerous organs in the body and occurs when the body mistakes a chemical compound (usually, a protein) in food as harmful and as a defence mechanism generates specific antibodies (IgE – Immunoglobulin E) and other chemicals, including histamine to fight it, causing a wide range of symptoms (depending on where in the body the histamine is released). A reaction to food allergy can be severe and in some cases life-threatening (anaphylaxis).
Food allergies are triggered by even a minuscule amount of the offending food that may cause an immediate and severe reaction, every time it is consumed. The most commonly known food allergen are: eggs, fish and shellfish, gluten (from wheat and other common grains), milk, peanuts (not a nut, but a legume) and tree nuts, soy and soy products.
Food allergies often run in families and are, therefore, believed to be hereditary.
The array of symptoms range from mild to severe and vary from Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe, and the amount of food necessary to trigger a reaction varies from person to person.
What Is Food Intolerance?
Food intolerance (or sensitivity) is a digestive system response and symptoms often come on gradually and manifest as digestive conditions, and are often less serious than food allergies (bloating, cramping, irritability, headaches, heartburn, constipation/diarrhoea…). It occurs when a compound present in specific food irritates a person’s digestive system (i.e. lactose present in milk and other dairy products, gluten in grains) or when the body is unable to breakdown or properly digest the food.
The best way to identify foods responsible for both allergies and intolerance is to start an Elimination Diet.
An elimination diet involves recording all the signs and symptoms after eating certain foods, and categorically eliminating the suspected foods from the diet until all symptoms have completely disappeared. Then, by reintroducing any suspect foods, one at a time, it is possible to pinpoint the culprits.
Nowadays, new technology is allowing us to identify food intolerances (IgG-mediated responses) with home testing kits (blood sample sent back to the laboratory).
Always seek medical advice before beginning an elimination diet, and identify if you have a food intolerance rather than an allergy to a specific food.
When eating out, make sure you understand the menu and always mention to your server that you have a specific allergy or an intolerance to a certain food. With the new European law passed December 2014, all allergens must be listed on the menus.
Always check the label of packed food at your usual grocer, and look for suspect foods.
News conference, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dec. 3, 2010.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The Food Allergy Initiative.
Dr. James T. Li – Director of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, Chair of the Division of Allergic Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine and a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist, and professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
It is all about FOOD™
This Blog offers an easy-to-read condensed descriptive of food groups, nutrients, and their role on our body; cooking processes; world news with major impact on food and consumers; comprehensive reviews of restaurants (Menus, Food-on-plate and Quality of Service); and easy-to-follow Exquisite recipes, as well as healthy snacks and juices.
Olivier is a Michelin trained chef, a registered Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating.